Bangkok is a city of contrasts.
- From the majestic bling of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and reclining Buddha to the sale of sex toys in Patpong (no, you only get a photo of the Patpong sign).
- From the splendor of eating at the Sirocco restaurant or drinking at the Sky Bar 820 feet up the Lebua hotel while round the corner, at ground floor level, men, women and children try and earn a living selling food on street stalls. By the way, a round of drinks (2 cokes, a larger and a G&T) at the sky bar cost the same as a two course meal out at a good restaurant (including a round of the same drinks…).
There are 50 Thai baht to the pound and if the taxi drivers put the meter on you can go pretty much anywhere for £2. Most of the time they try not to put the meter on, especially for the gullible tourists. Speaking of which, us tourists were occasionally called foreigners and made to queue in our own line! Sometimes though, being a foreigner was a perk.
The Thai people don’t miss an opportunity to sell you a souvenir. Be it on street markets, huge indoor shopping centres or a floating market, you can’t go home and tell loved ones hoping for a trinket that you didn’t have the chance to shop. The floating market is a misnomer. As my sons pointed out, it’s the customers who float, not the market. Perhaps long ago when the locals sold to each other they were all on boats, but now it’s the tourists who float towards market traders trying to persuade you to buy yet another genuine fake T-shirt or handbag. Or hat.
Speaking of never missing an opportunity for selling, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of my book in a couple of stunning locations.
Next week I’ll share what I learnt about buying things in Thailand…